Vegetation Ecologist Elizabeth Byers, the Flora of Nepal Project, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (Nepal), and High Country Apps have partnered to produce the new WILDFLOWERS OF MOUNT EVEREST plant identification app for mobile devices. The app presents over 550 wildflowers, shrubs, and trees likely to be seen along the trails in Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal. More than 2500 beautifully detailed images illustrate the species descriptions, along with bloom period, elevation range, local names, and plant lore. Most of the species can also be seen in the adjacent Makalu-Barun National Park and the upper elevations of the Gauri Shankar Conservation Area, and many are found throughout Nepal at higher elevations. The app does not need an Internet connection to run, so you can use it no matter how remote your wanderings take you.
Though primarily designed for amateur enthusiasts, the breadth of content also includes technical descriptions, scientific name synonymy, and references, making it appealing to more experienced botanists. Users can browse the species list by plant name or plant family to locate a species and access the related information. However, most users will want to rely on the easy-to-use search key to accurately identify plants of interest. Save your favorites to a personalized list and email it to yourself or your friends.
The key's interface is broken down into eleven simple categories: growth form (e.g., wildflower, shrub, vine), flower color, number of petals, flower type, elevation zone, habitat, leaf arrangement, leaf margin, leaf type, plant height, and flowering month. Select choices in as many or as few categories as you wish. As you do so, the number of species found is displayed at the top of the page. Once done selecting, the click of a button returns a list of thumbnail images and names for potential matches. Users scroll among the species on the list and tap a thumbnail image to access additional photos, descriptions, plant facts and lore.
WILDFLOWERS OF MOUNT EVEREST includes supporting documents with information on the natural history of the Mount Everest region, descriptions of wildflower seasons and best times to visit, insights into how the climate influences the plant communities found here, a map of Sagarmatha National Park as well as detailed instructions on how to use the app. Users will also find an extensive glossary of botanical terms, along with labeled diagrams of leaves, flowers, and inflorescences. Finally, detailed descriptions can be found for each family contained in WILDFLOWERS OF MOUNT EVEREST. Tapping on a family name brings up a list of images and names for all species in the app belonging to that family.
Sagarmatha National Parks vegetation ranges from the temperate oak-hemlock forests at the lowest elevations, up through the fir-birch-rhododendron forests of the subalpine to the dwarf shrublands and meadows of the alpine, and on upward to scattered cushion plants at the highest elevations. WILDFLOWERS OF MOUNT EVEREST will appeal to individuals of all ages who travel to such areas and are interested in knowing the names, natural history, and cultural importance of the plants that they encounter. WILDFLOWERS OF MOUNT EVEREST is also a great educational tool for learning more about plant communities, botanical terms, and how to identify plants in general.
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